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Adhesives for Encaustic Artwork Monotypes and Collage

Adhesives for Encaustic Artwork—Monotypes & Collage

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In this post, Victoria Foster Harrison of the Curly Girl Art Studio shares with us various adhesive solutions for encaustic artwork. How to choose the best glues for encaustic collage materials and how to ensure waxy encaustic monotypes adhere well to panels.

Victoria may not have gotten enough mud-pie time as a kid, but she’s now making up for that lost time! The encaustic printmaking process has many appealing aspects; free-flowing and fast, meditative and mesmerizing, and a medium that encourages loosening up. The results are lovely; simple, complex, layered, creamy, textural, and smooth. She finds the process of letting go and allowing the medium to have its own voice, brings forth intuition that has been hiding deep in her soul.

How to ensure Proper Adhesion for Encaustic Monotypes

THE QUANDARY: Many artists wish to adhere their encaustic monotype prints to a cradled panel or another substrate—BUT as a general rule, adhesives do not stick easily to the backside of waxy prints. To ensure successful adhesion for an enduring gallery presentation, Victoria recommends grit.

Grit for Encaustic Monotypes

Victoria uses what she calls a “grit” on the back of her prints.  A coating of Encaustic Gesso, Tempera Paint or Venetian Plaster, thinned with water and painted or rolled on the back of the print, will create a mildly coarse surface, or grit, for the adhesive to grab onto. Though this process adds an extra step to your final product, it takes but a few minutes to apply, along with minimal time to dry and, in the long run, it’s a simple way to ensure a lasting result, saving possible embarrassment later.

Once the grit is fully dry, your print is ready for adhesive.

Using Dry Adhesive for Encaustic Monotypes & Collage

In general, Victoria’s favorite by far is a dry adhesive on a roll. It’s a fast application and reliable, repositionable for a short time, double-sided, has minimal bumps and bubbles and is great for large work.

3M/ SCOTCH 568 A double-sided, odorless, dry adhesive on a roll.
This is Victoria’s favorite adhesive. Repositionable for a short time and becomes permanent once pressure is applied.

Gudy 870 (Gudy O) Mounting Adhesive by Talas is another dry adhesive product but Victoria has not yet tried it.

Wet Adhesives for Collage

No adhesive, whether wet or dry, is 100% perfect. With wet adhesives, one runs the risk of getting bubbles and wrinkles, not to mention dealing with the drying time. Victoria does use wet adhesives, especially for paper ephemera and artwork that has deckled or torn edges and is on the small side.

Here are 10 adhesive products that Victoria recommends for use with collage materials.

  1. TALAS Jade #403
    Many artists claim fewer bubbles appear.


An all-time favorite with collage artists.


A popular brand is Lineco, but other brands are available.

4. iCraft Mixed-Media Glue

The fine tip is great for torn edges & tight spaces, dries pretty flat.

The fine tip is great for torn edges & tight spaces.
There is no glitter in the product, that is just the name of the company.

6. Scotch Super 77
Multi-purpose spray adhesive.
Spray outside due to fumes.

Great for travelling and collaging as you go, for small items.

8. E6000 Craft Adhesive
Great for 3D Work, very strong. Needs 10 minutes to set.

9. & 10. YES! PASTE mixed with GLAZING MEDIUM

YES! PASTE mixed with a GLAZING MEDIUM, matte medium or acrylic gel.
Please be aware that YES! Paste is water-soluble when dry, which can present problems in moist atmospheres.

GLAZING MEDIUM – add this product to YES! Paste to create a waterproof solution. Do not use it as an adhesive on its own.

How to Apply Wet Adhesives:

Victoria’s Tips for Gluing Collage Materials

  • GLUE STATION: Use a junk mail catalog as a glueing station. Lay your collage piece on a clean page of the catalog after brushing wet adhesive on your collage segment, turn the catalog page for a dry page.
  • ADHESIVE TRAY: Have a container dedicated to the adhesive. Recycled yogurt containers work very nicely, or use a container with a tight lid for future storage.
  • APPLYING THE ADHESIVE: Use a brush to apply the wet adhesive to the backside of your item. A small roller from your local paint store or a printmaker’s brayer are great tools for smoothing out lumps and bumps.
  • SMOOTHING: Once the artwork is laid on top of the surface it is being attached to (artwork side up, glue side down), start smoothing it out. Start from the middle of the surface being adhered, and with your hands, press outwards so the excess adhesive heads to the outside. Remove extra adhesive that is oozing out with a paper towel, tissue or baby wipe.
  • EXTRA SMOOTHING: Lay a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper on top of your artwork – and if the artwork is not too fragile – rub smooth with a flat-edged silicone scraper, a brayer, or a flat tool of your choice.
  • BUBBLES: Use a pin to pop any bubbles.
  • PRESS: Overnight with something heavy — such as books or an upside-down cradled panel — for extra pressure to help the glue dry flat. Make sure to cover the artwork with parchment paper or waxed paper so your books don’t stick to the artwork.
  • KEEPING BRUSH CLEAN: Have a water container handy to set your brush in as the wet adhesives will dry quickly on your brush. A pile of paper towels helps to dry the brush quickly when getting back to the glueing process.

If you have a question for Victoria, please comment below. Victoria has provided a PDF of this post that you can download here.

And, if you found this post helpful you may also want to read

About Victoria Foster Harrison

Victoria Foster Harrison is a working and teaching artist at the boutique Curly Girl Art Studio in Port Townsend, WA, a quaint marine community in the Pacific Northwest. A painter, abstract calligrapher and a teacher of mark-making and asemic writing, Victoria’s primary focus for the last decade has been on Encaustic Printmaking, and she is delighted to share her enthusiasm for that art.

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17 thoughts on “Adhesives for Encaustic Artwork—Monotypes & Collage”

  1. I’m a printmaker. I do block relief prints on mulberry & kozo papers using oil inks. Matting and framing is expensive. I’m looking for a new option. I have glued my prints using non-acidic spray adhesive onto Ampersand gesso board. Unfortunately, regardless of my careful placement and burnishing, the host paper ripples though the Ampersand surface is level. I have not tried gesso on the back of my print BEFORE printing (that’s another test). Question: Is the Scotch 3M 568 non-acidic? This process looks so much easier than spray or wet applications. Also, while I understand your images are full of encaustic wax and mine are not, is there a product you have tried over the surface of a non-encaustic collage image? I also understand this could very likely change the chemistry and look of the pigments, especially if there is no wax layer for protection. Thank You for this very informative video!

    1. Hi James, thank you so much for your inquiry. Yes, prints on delicate papers are difficult to adhere. You will not need encaustic gesso on the back of your non-waxy prints. However an acrylic gesso may give the print some additional support/ strength to help with adhering (I have not tried this). I am fearful that a white gesso will saturate your print and make undesirable changes in the look of your print. There is a clear acrylic gesso available and it might be worth trying on a test piece. The dry adhesive box says that the 568 product is “photo safe”, but I am not sure if that is helpful. For a top coat or finish product, there are archival spray finishes available by Golden or Lascaux – I prefer the matte version (I used long ago on acrylic paintings). The process I use for finishes is that I first coat with a fixative and then use a very thin coat of cold wax for a bit of protection and also to even out the sheen (again I use matte, makes photographing the art much easier!) – I fear that this process will be too rough on your delicate papers as a significant amount of rubbing over the surface is necessary. Please know that any suggestions I have made are just that – suggestions – and not hard and fast rules but simply ideas. Please test any of these suggestions on scrap pieces. Thank you for your kind comment about the video. Please feel free to ask additional questions.

    1. Hi Sonia, I like to use yasutomo/ aitoh’s sumi-e paper in three sizes: 9×12, 12×18 and 18×24. My favorite sources is artsupplywarehouse in westminster, ca because they carry all 3 sizes. Hope that helps!~

      1. Hi Victoria,
        Wonderful video and great information! Thank you! I wondered if yo ever use the encaustic gesso on the back of the paper before creating the monotype? I’m thinking it may soak through because the rice paper is so absorbent? Thanks much!

        1. Hi Michele, I actually haven’t tried adding the encaustic gesso first. Even though I always encourage artists and explorers to give it a try, I will say I can’t see it happening well. I would not want anything to block the absorption of the wax into the paper and I am afraid the gesso done beforehand would do that. Let me know if you try it and what you think….

  2. Victoria – Thank you so much for this! I am wondering how the Scotch 3M dry adhesive holds up to heat – specifically, if you use the dry mount adhesive to mount an encaustic monotype to paper, can you then do additional work with encaustic on top? One of the ways I work is to mount an image printed on absorbent paper to panel, and then build up layers of encaustic on top of that. Using this dry mount adhesive in that process would be wonderful! Thank you – Bridget

      1. Thank you! With what Ruth Maude has indicated, it sounds like it’s worth a try! (There are always so many variables that I like to do my own freezer tests, just to make sure that the way I’m working will hold up)

    1. Hi Bridget,

      I have used Scotch 3M dry adhesive for photo encaustic and it works well. I mounted the photographs to the panel with it and then built up layers of encaustic on top, heat wasn’t a problem. I’ve used it for collage elements as well and then added wax.

      1. Thank you so much for letting me know about your experience! I’ve been using a PVA glue for images that cover the whole panel, and wallpaper paste for collage on the bare panel, but to have the dry adhesive as an option would be great!

  3. So useful to have all this info so clearly explained – there are a lot of misunderstandings on this subject and you explained the ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s really well. Thank you!
    Jac Seery Howard

  4. Thanks for this overview Vicki – you are so generous to share your techniques. Your my favorite monoprint wizard.

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